The Trolls Are Sophisticated–And Effective

A recent headline from Rolling Stone addressed an issue that is likely to keep thoughtful voters up at night. The headline? “That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent it.”

Rolling Stone is hardly the only publication warning about an unprecedented effort–and not just by Russian trolls–to use the Internet to sow disinformation and promote discord.

Who and what are these trolls?

Internet trolls don’t troll. Not the professionals at least. Professional trolls don’t go on social media to antagonize liberals or belittle conservatives. They are not narrow minded, drunk or angry. They don’t lack basic English language skills. They certainly aren’t “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds,” as the president once put it. Your stereotypical trolls do exist on social media, but the amateurs aren’t a threat to Western democracy.

Professional trolls, on the other hand, are the tip of the spear in the new digital, ideological battleground. To combat the threat they pose, we must first understand them — and take them seriously.

The Russian effort is incredibly sophisticated: the article explained that non-political, often heartwarming or inspiring tweets are used to grow an audience of followers. Once a troll with a manufactured name or identity has amassed sufficient followers, the troll will use that following to spread messages promoting division, distrust, and above all, doubt.

The authors of the article are two experts in the use of social media to spread propaganda, and they admit to being impressed by the Russian operation.

Professional trolls are good at their job. They have studied us. They understand how to harness our biases (and hashtags) for their own purposes. They know what pressure points to push and how best to drive us to distrust our neighbors. The professionals know you catch more flies with honey. They don’t go to social media looking for a fight; they go looking for new best friends. And they have found them.

Disinformation operations aren’t typically fake news or outright lies. Disinformation is most often simply spin. Spin is hard to spot and easy to believe, especially if you are already inclined to do so. While the rest of the world learned how to conduct a modern disinformation campaign from the Russians, it is from the world of public relations and advertising that the IRA learned their craft. To appreciate the influence and potential of Russian disinformation, we need to view them less as Boris and Natasha and more like Don Draper.

Lest you think it’s only the Russians employing these tactics, allow the Atlantic to disabuse you in an article headlined “The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Re-elect the President.”

The article began with a report on the approach the re-election campaign had taken to Impeachment–” a multimillion-dollar ad blitz aimed at shaping Americans’ understanding of the recently launched impeachment proceedings. Thousands of micro-targeted ads had flooded the internet, portraying Trump as a heroic reformer cracking down on foreign corruption while Democrats plotted a coup.”

That this narrative bore little resemblance to reality seemed only to accelerate its spread. Right-wing websites amplified every claim. Pro-Trump forums teemed with conspiracy theories. An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape around the biggest news story in the country.

The author, who had followed the disinformation campaign, writes of his surprise at how “slick” and effective it was.

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate.

This, then, is where we are: in an environment in which facts–let alone truths–are what we want them to be. An environment in which the pursuit of power by truly reprehensible people working to re-elect a dangerous and mentally-ill President can target those most likely to be susceptible to their manipulation of reality.

I have no idea how reality fights back. I do know that Democrats too “pure” to vote unless their favored candidate is the nominee are as dangerous as the trolls.

I think it was Edmund Burke who said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

31 thoughts on “The Trolls Are Sophisticated–And Effective

  1. Sadly…Edmund Burke’s analysis has been right so often.
    I am saddened by what I see happening to my adopted country.
    Where did we fail, how did this happen? What happened to create such anger, inequities, disfunction?
    I have many questions and so few answers.

  2. The other problem is that the OLD media has fallen on its ass. I receive NO information from the Indy Star on anything important. Nothing about the impeachment. Nothing about the Justice Dept problems this week. There is no information from these people. I guess it is time to terminate.

  3. Facebook and it’s subsidiaries, are the worst enabler of them all. Through policies of inaction, they are going to continue to allow micro-casting to happen. These guys have some much information on your viewing habits that “sponsored” posts can be targeted to as few as 100 people in a zip code, people that will most likely share targeted information. At the point it is shared, it is no longer a “sponsored” post and obtains a new legitimacy. The several hundred people that see the new post will comment or share it to several thousand people, so for pennies, you can start to spread false or misleading information.

    I got a post shared from a friend the other day and her comment was “This is Scary”. It was a video disinformation piece about how the election was rigged and your vote don’t count. It was clever news clips, all taken out of context. I did a little research and told her what it was, along with the link to The Atlantic article. I am sure she was the target of this is a disinformation campaign. She is a left leaning voter, and the point was to discourage her from voting.

    This stuff is real. It is not only targeting right leaning voters to get out and vote, it is very exactly targeting left leaning voters to make sure they don’t trust the voting process and wont bother to vote.

  4. Today’s trolls operate on the internet and social media. Yesterday’s trolls used the radio and hate/talk shows like the one staring the country’s latest recipient of the Medal of Freedom.
    Recall for a moment his daily use of someone else’s lie. He would preface a piece of propaganda with “And get this, folks, this from …ah…ah I’ve got it here somewhere, but well this was widely reported by many news outlets…” and then the lie. Which is exactly what Donald Trump does in his speeches when he says. “Many people say.”
    Birds of a feather…

  5. I read the article in The Atlantic yesterday. It is scary. What is even more scary is that some of these people are professionals, not political advocates. They will work for whomever has the money.

  6. Yesterday, one of my FB friends posted an item that screamed the Pete Buttigieg’s father was a Commie, who loved Marx and praised “The Communist Manifesto”. It happens to be mostly true, as the guy was a professor at Notre Dame, who specialized in the writing of an Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci. From this, my friend believes that she must believe that Pete is a Commie, intent on the destruction of our system. She doesn’t understand that our so-called system, as she imagines it, no longer exists, not because of the Commies, but because we have given too much latitude to unfettered Capitalists. There is no such thing as a pure economic system. Even the best systems are flawed and most involve combinations of systems that are found acceptable by those living under them.

  7. Humans, with the reptilian parts of their brains being used as the driver of politics and in the pathetic attempts to govern ourselves, keep proving to themselves that they are increasingly likely to be the only species known to history that actively tried to make itself extinct. Manipulating facts and truths for the sake of political power gives the world creatures like Vladimir Putin and his puppy, Donald Trump. Both of these wretched creatures have their fingers on the nuclear launch buttons.

    Sooner or later, one of these types will be triggered – so to speak – to use them. Good-bye world. If you want big-time climate change, putting evil people in power will do that for us. So, the professional trolls, like any capitalist, will do anything for money and ignore the consequences. Their moral compass is broken and their self-absorption is complete.

  8. As a domestic for instance in trolling we are told that Trump has called in Cuomo to tell him to stop New York’s “nuisance lawsuits” against him or face unspecified loss of federal assistance to that state. Trump is well acquainted with “nuisance lawsuits,” having been involved in thousands of them, and is apparently of the view that such lawsuits against him and his progeny such as stealing from his charity, thefts for which he was fined two million dollars to settle it, are a “nuisance.”

    Trump is thus now telling states and other prospective litigants that he is in charge of whom they may sue, speaking of Big Brother, and he is thereby clearly telling us something else, to wit: that in addition to immunity from his criminal activities (per Barr as to sitting presidents) he is to be immune from civil suits, and beyond that, he is threatening to use federal power to force a state to not enforce its laws as they pertain to him, his progeny, and by extension, anyone or anything else he decides should be immunized from state law.So what’s next? Shall he use federal powers to take out state jurisdiction over murder and speeding as they apply to his selected beneficiaries? Where does this end?

    Remember those quaint old views of Equal Protection of the Laws, that no one is above the law, that our sworn duty was and is to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign or domestic? Does anyone smell the strong odor of a domestic enemy working to subvert our Constitution, as I do? Heil Trump?

  9. Cambridge Analytics, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, all had obvious Russian connections, although they protested, if they didn’t have a hand in their outright creation, payola or compromot, why where there all so many connections? Why did Snowden head to Russia if he had no connections there? There were other countries he could’ve went to with no extradition treaties.

    It went way beyond just trolling, corporate espionage, and paid moles did as much or more damage than just trolling. The more doubt that can be planted, people will see black helicopters everywhere! It’s just like a roaring fire with a lot of fuel, unless you cut off the fuel it’s going to continue to grow. Unfortunately, the greed of corporate America refuses to cut off that fuel! So, it just continues on, growing, morphing, deceiving those who want to believe in an alternate reality, and those who are too lazy to care.

    I know it’s tiresome, and it’s been brought out before, this is no different than Nazi Germany! They had a huge propaganda machine, they didn’t have social media, but they had the full weight of government that could be brought to bear spreading propaganda and disinformation. Again, people decided to believe the propaganda instead of their own eyes and ears. They decided to believe the propaganda over people that they knew their entire lives. And they murdered their neighbors!

    Of course this is on a much grander scale, because technology has advanced, not for the good of mankind, but to the detriment of mankind. This is not just in the United States, it’s a hegemonic movement, because everything is so connected now, it cannot be eradicated. I’m sure there will be a foil out there, the most obvious would be religion, because, religion has constantly meddled in civil governments. So they already have a bad name for themselves. The Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, and several of the Middle Eastern countries, are good at stoking the religious aspect to create scapegoats and foils.

    And to some, the strangest thing of all, is this has been prophesied about for millennia, to a point in the distant future when religion will be in the middle of great upheaval in civil society. And one will not be able to buy and sell without permission (the mark) of these authoritarian governments that are arising out of the ashes of civil and democratic society. Freedom and free will are always a good thing, but, if you have an infestation of cockroaches, do you let them run wild because of their rights? Or rats? Or mice? These creatures have a purpose, a right to exist, but they also can spread plagues! We’ve just allowed an infestation spread a plague because of perceived rights!

    Once again, mankind doesn’t learn from history, and once again mankind sabotages himself to the detriment of the only home mankind has, there will be no fleeing this time, because there is no place to flee!

  10. The Russian trolls, unfortunately, must stand in line behind the billionaires and Oligarchs campaigns to do the very same thing — sow disinformation to the masses.

    Quite honestly, this has been going on for decades in this country. Before social media, the outlets for information being passed from the top-down was press, radio, and film. As technology expanded media options, those abusing the media also had to change tactics.

    Has everybody forgotten GWB’s grand tale of WMD’s in Iraq?

    All our news outlets were on the same page, sowing disinformation to the masses to justify a war in Iraq. All. Of. Them.

    And, what were the consequences of lying to the media and the masses?

    #NADA

    The media was given government information (lies) to spread to the masses, and they complied. We have several whistleblowers serving jail sentences or avoiding prosecution by the USA for disclosing the truth about our MIC/Surveillance State War Crimes.

    What have been the consequences for those government employees who were caught committing those crimes, including a former POTUS, Vice-POTUS, and Chief Intelligence Officer?

    #NADA

    Also, what I truly find amazing is how many Democratic voters and pundits have jumped on the billionaire coattails of Michael Bloomberg. Seriously? How exactly does this billionaire, who owns a media empire, serve the interests of the Working Class in this country?

    Has the corporation called the USA situated in the District of Columbia become a monarchy where we hand over the country from one billionaire to another and then wonder why our lot in life only gets worse?

    Who needs “disinformation” from Russian bots? LOL

    We have nothing but propaganda now on the airwaves that differentiating the truth from the false is almost impossible. And if the truth does surface, we prosecute the offenders and call them traitors.

    Who isn’t a traitor to the American people?

    Or, should I ask, who is telling the truth, and would we recognize it when we read, see, or hear it?

  11. Well Todd, I think you pretty much summed it all up pretty well.

    I really think you know what the deal is, and there is no fixing it.

  12. John S.

    “Well Todd, I think you pretty much summed it all up pretty well.

    I really think you know what the deal is, and there is no fixing it.”

    You’re right. There’s no fixing it at the present level of communication. The only answer is to go to a DEEPER LEVEL of communication.

    “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them”
    ~ Professor Albert Einstein

  13. More than ever we need citizens who can engage in good critical thinking to try and rebut all the disinformation. The problem is that many of Trump’s “groupies” and other Americans do not use critical thinking. Instead, they pay attention to what excites them, a strictly emotional connection to the candidate of their choice. And to some extent, the media fuels the irrational feelings of Americans.

    I watch NPR and PBS because I believe they tend to be more objective than CNN and MSNBC. I also do NOT allow any political ads on my Facebook page.

    It’s too bad we can’t make all the so called “adults” in this country review their civics courses. Many also need to take a course in civil language.

    We have a child in the White House, a pied piper leading other misinformed children astray. America needs to grow up and pay attention to facts and “boring” policy proposals, not the fairy tale of making America great again. I want a hat that says Make America United again.

  14. Peggy; tell your friend that Communism is not a genetic trait, passed from generation to generation. Fortunately neither is Republicanism; my parents were staunch Republicans. Assuming Pete was automatically a Communist sounds like the J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn – Trump’s Roy Cohn – chapter of our government, they saw Communists behind every tree and under every bush and denied the existence of organized crime. Trump has often been quoted as asking, “Where is my Roy Cohn?”; his replacement is currently in training in the personage of AG William Barr.

    The trolls on social media, whatever their source, may appear sophisticated and are somewhat effective but the most successful trolls are running the government and make no pretense at being sophisticated. They are down and dirty and since the impeachment acquittal they are gathering speed and power at a frightening rate. Their primary source of power is their organization; something the Democratic party lacks and needs to recognize and put differences aside to form a united front. The Iowa Caucus should have been a lesson in How NOT To Pick A Presidential Nominee!

  15. Marv & John,

    Those people willing to give up the material world to plunge into deeper levels of consciousness are the extreme minority.

    I’ve given up on the Boomer Generation because greed and the material world is their God. I do believe the younger generation is on the right track but wanting to alter our course from an unsustainable global economic system to a more sustainable, planned economy.

    Those .01%’ers who attend Davos keep getting nudged in that direction, but waiting for them to abandon their almighty profits for the good of humanity is moving along at a snail’s pace. I’m not feeling a sense of urgency from these folks.

  16. Todd,

    “I’m not feeling a sense of urgency from these folks.”

    You’re right, it’s urgent. Trump is still vulnerable. One of these days, it could be tomorrow, he won’t be.

  17. It’s wise to know that there are entities that try to convince us of one thing or another. That they use immoral means. That some are sophisticated and some are crude.

    It is not wise to believe that they are successful. The existence of populations of people who subscribe to the one thing or another that some entity purports does not prove that the entity caused the people’s belief. I subscribe to Sheila’s blog, and I subscribe to some of the notions that she expresses, but I do not accept those notions BECAUSE she expressed them.

    I purport that disinformation devices–trolls, bots, propaganda, false news, etc.–merely create labeled pens to which we flock, we who ALREADY accept the label.

    I arrived in Honolulu to meet a new art dealer and a reporter from the Honolulu Star Advertiser, whom I also had never met. Someone met me at the airport to drive me to the art dealer’s place of business. At the airport, the driver held up a card that said “ART”. Naturally, I steered toward that sign. If I am to believe the posts here in this blog, that sign is responsible for me becoming an artist.

    In Vietnam, I lost two men in my platoon to a long fall over a high cliff. Those two men were my point man and my compass man. My platoon was travelling through thick undergrowth and the point and compass were guiding the way but also doing the heavy chopping with machetes to clear a path. The growth, mostly giant ferns, were so thick that 1) our visibility was down to one foot and 2) the growth held the weight of two men as they chopped their way out into space over the cliff…and then the growth parted and dropped the point man and the compass man into a chasm.

    Seven to five, that is what is happening here. We are too busy chopping at the undergrowth of lies and disinformation to be aware of the chasm beneath our feet.

  18. From the Guardian: Michael Bloomberg, has spent nearly $350m on ads focused on the 16 states and territories that vote. Bloomberg has become the new darling of the Corporate Establishment Democrats to avoid the chance of a Bernie or Warren led ticket. Bloomberg is a poster child for the 1% a person who cannot decide what party he belongs to but, who has given campaign donations to both.

    The USA going back to the early 1950’s engaged in a propaganda campaign using main stream “journalists” that it was even worthy of name Operation Mockingbird.

    From WIKI:
    “The CIA and the Media,” reporter Carl Bernstein wrote that by 1953, CIA Director Allen Dulles oversaw the media network, which had major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies.

    Its usual modus operandi was to place reports, developed from CIA-provided intelligence, with cooperating or unwitting reporters. Those reports would be repeated or cited by the recipient reporters and would then, in turn, be cited throughout the media wire services.

    Church Committee’s final report, published in April 1976,
    For foreign news media, the report concluded that:

    The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.

    For domestic media, the report states:

    Approximately 50 of the [Agency] assets are individual American journalists or employees of U.S. media organizations. Of these, fewer than half are “accredited” by U.S. media organizations … The remaining individuals are non-accredited freelance contributors and media representatives abroad … More than a dozen United States news organizations and commercial publishing houses formerly provided cover for CIA agents abroad. A few of these organizations were unaware that they provided this cover.
    ===========================================

    Todd, made the comment: “All our news outlets were on the same page, sowing disinformation to the masses to justify a war in Iraq. All. Of. Them.”

    I remember thinking at the time of the build-up to Bush the Younger’s Gulf War 2, have these “journalists” forgotten all about how they were used to hype up beyond all factual recognition the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 and then all the promises of “Victory” afterwards???

  19. Robin: America was never united. Not during the Revolution and not during either World War. And certainly not during the Cold War.

    Even the Constitution admits to division and factions and mean, very mean, opposing views: It confesses to the existence of serious and permanent divisions by its very purpose, which is to establish the rules of the fight and then referee those constant fights between opposing factions.

    The strategic hill on which all internal battles in the final analysis shall be won or lost is Constitution Hill. If we cannot protect the Constitution, the civil game is lost and a new game–a game without rules, called anarchy, commences; and in that game, everyone loses.

    To believe that America was ever united is to accept another set of myths and misinformation.

  20. M. Languor:
    The Church Committee report confirms to me that my government was doing what I expect every organized entity to do insofar as promoting itself and its goals.

    I spent my life as a working artist. Somehow, I knew and accepted that the moment I quit promoting myself and my art would be the moment that my career would end. Millions of “artists” fail at startup because that moment of non-self-promotion came at the beginning of their push to be working artists.

    The same is true of businesses. They die for lack of self-promotion.

    It is odd to me that the same people who say that government should be run like a business are often the same people who object to government promoting itself.

    If you were to become King or President or CEO, I predict that you would realize that to deliver on your many new responsibilities, you must disseminate information favorable to your goals and your results–propaganda. Hopefully, you would realize that for your information dissemination to be successful it must be organized, the more organized the better. And it must be smart–scientific–and at the cutting edge of psychology. A small failure in any aspect of, shall we call it, propaganda will be the death knell of your reign as leader, because your opposition’s information mill will be as near to perfect as it can be.

    Even in the wild propaganda reigns. Great manes, impressive racks, swirls of colorful feathers, brightly-colored butts, beautiful and frightening songs, sheer size, and the like, make great promises and flaunt effective survival skills to the herd or flock in general and to potential competitors and desirable mates in particular.

    Perhaps it is time to change our title of homo sapien (wise man) to homo naïve.

  21. Bloomberg will hurt more than help. The fact that he can match-up $$$ for $$$ with Charles Koch shouldn’t be a prerequisite for being President. He doesn’t represent people, he only represents $$$. Could you imagine him running for President without his $$$?

    If it’s going to be all about $$$, maybe we should think about George Soros and his $$$. And that wouldn’t be a good idea either.

  22. DW.com.at the MSC,Munich Security Commitee: meeting,theres a piece on how wide spread the threat is. suckerburg in attendance..story,
    MSC: social media giants put fair elections under threat..cambridge anylt,also mentioned as a wide spread issue,from that time on..word speak, ignorance and making a living seems to be why most people never read,or have time for a life..but they will waste their time ranting to anyone about trivial crap on social media,that allows the country to fall into a ditch they continue to create.get out and talk face to face,social intervention is human,and hiding behind a key stroke is blind faith.i have more fun talking with working people in my field, and I can walk away knowing far more,just from their expersions and discussion topics..

  23. The message is not new. Politicians have been telling us for years what we want to hear. That is always how they have gotten elected. What has taken a quantum leap is the means they now have of doing so. The problem is the lazy disregard of the truth or any honest and vigorous pursuit thereof. The solution is a public which thinks critically and is not simply a sponge absorbing trolls which correspond to preconceived notions.

  24. It was easier for Bloomberg to spend a few hundred million than to stoop to meeting with actual voters in Iowa or New Hampshire or elsewhere. He’s an autocrat who changes parties for opportunistic reasons, but he doesn’t change his spots. He’s another Trump who doesn’t listen to constituents or his advisors. If he listens to anyone, it’s to Wall Street and other VERY rich people. Blaming the efforts to correct redlining rather than greedy mortgage lenders for the financial crash of 2008 tells us so much of what we need to know of him. He’s smarter than Trump by a long shot, making him every bit as self-assured that he knows better than everyone else how to run our lives.

  25. Marv, Larry, Todd, ML, Pete, and almost everyone else, I do consider a camaraderie with all of you, I feel it at times, other times I might not agree, just as you might not agree. For camaraderie to work, one needs a common goal! Camaraderie looks past the BS of trolls, propaganda, and hate baiting.

    The common goal is to live a satisfying life free of completely intrusive government, and free of the evil of mankind’s heart. Conscience can override a faulty heart condition, the heart is extremely reactive and fraught with desire and uncertainty. We desire to be rich, we desire a person other than our mate, we desire power, and sometimes the power of desire makes us willfully immoral/amoral, and willfully thoughtless, as in believing in alternate reality.

    Our conscience is more slow and steady, unless it has been damaged by an onslaught of desire and the inability to control that emotion.

    Titus 1:15 reads; ” All things are clean to clean people; but to those who are defiled and faithless, nothing is clean, for both their minds and their consciences are defiled”

    1st Timothy the 4th chapter talks about the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, and that there conscience has been seared as with a branding iron. Those people, are the ones who create false doctrines and dogma.

    “For whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.” (Romans 2:14, 15)

    Also in the Pentateuch, Genesis 3:18 discusses the 1st evidence of conscience one Adam and Eve sinned and then hid themselves. There conscience told them that they were wrong, they were told what would happen if they ate from that tree, the desire of the heart made them work against their conscience, in the end, there conscience condemned them, as did their God.

    Our conscience is our built-in lie detector, that’s why lie detectors work so well on most people, conscience will give you away every time unless you have some sort of mental illness, pathological in word and deed.

    My conscience tells me that I have to say what I have to say. I’ve been trained by my conscience for 40 some years, and I cannot be silent when it comes to what is happening. Just as I had faith in the equipment I used to hold 64,000 Volts in my hand, I have faith and conviction in the study of history and Scripture. This is a devastating time we are entering, I’ve heard people say that this could be a come to Jesus moment! Yes people say that all the time, but do they really know what it means?

    Were talking about what to believe and what not to believe, my suggestion, use an open mind, read the history and Scripture for yourselves. After all, you have nothing to lose by doing that. There really is something more than what’s going on now, and it truly is mankind’s only hope. Just as Gentile proselytes followed the Mosaic law, everyone should research Scripture. Hypocrites and apostates have altered the perception of Scripture a perception that was never meant to be. Why are they afraid? Why do they so vehemently despise Scripture? God didn’t create the evil in this world, Scripture does not say the earth was created in 6 24-hour days, Scripture doesn’t say that dinosaurs walked around with humans, Scripture does not talk against species adapting or evolving traits that allow them to survive in specific areas, Scripture does not condemn people to a fiery torture.

    Men have corrupted Scripture, Scripture was not a corrupt document, Scripture is not a corrupt document, man’s dogma and man created traditions have corrupted not only their consciences, but the people who follow them. They are the blind leading the blind over the precipice. My hope is that some will decide to investigate and see the difference in the things that they’ve heard and compare them to the things they read and what their conscience tells them.

  26. ill follow up here John, its not very much goverment intrusion,its the corprate intrusion,in just being a memeber of social medias,ring buttons and not protecting your own privacy. many of the mass surveilance is because insurance,lack of law enforcement,and private use of, that now has become mass survailence…,as amazon now sells its ring mass survailence to local p.d.s for a fee,,you provide,they make the money..intrusion on streoids,, see EFF electronic freedom foundation for topics,,we are the mass survailence on ourselves… the governent still needs a warrent to gain,they just ask face,twit, etc, and they get what they need,from right wing judges,,can you say mcconnel?

  27. John S.

    What we all need is a course in comparative history. Germany from 1919 to 1945 and the U.S. from 1970 to 2020. To destroy democracy, it had to take much more time than the destruction of the Weimar Republic.

    In the early ’80s in Dallas, my best friend was Hans Zacharias. He was much older than me. We first met at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. You might have seen the picture of Jewish men being “herded” down the street by Nazi guards in the ’30s. Hans was one of them, but he took a chance, and bolted when he had a chance, dived into an adjoining river, and swam to the other side and escaped. He, eventually, made his way to the U.S. and fought in W.W. II as an intelligence officer. He married after the war, and his son grew up to become the youngest captain of one of our nuclear submarines.

    Not all the Jews ended up herded to their death “like sheep to slaughter.” I’m surely not going to be one of them.

  28. Jack and Marv,

    Thank you for at least giving my post some credence, I appreciate the friendship on this site, and I truly believe Sheila is one of the really good ones out there.

    Also forgive me for not proofreading, I was very tired and feeling a bit pensive, LOL so I rattled off a diatribe kind of quickly.

    Jack, I definitely agree with the amount of espionage mining into personal information. They use our information like currency, they buy and sell just as they did with slaves. One solution would be for everyone to get off of social media, get rid of Google maps, turn off your location, and keep your footprint as small as possible. But that isn’t likely to happen because as they’ve grown dependent on our information for their wealth, we’ve grown dependent on the entertainment and tribal nature of social media.

    Marv, I agree, critical times put people in positions that they ordinarily would not have been in or had the ability to be part of.

    Discussing history and discussing Scripture, will not change anything, it takes action, i.e. works! The problem is, people are so downtrodden, they have lost the desire to resist what is happening. Folks are tired, it’s just like Mohammed Ali and his rope a dope, people thought they were fighting the good fight until they ran out of gas and got knocked out. People would like a savior, but can anyone honestly say, this one or that one can make a difference? I really don’t think any one “Man” or “Woman” Has the ability to make one iota of difference, it starts in everyone’s heart, there is no political solution.

  29. John S.,

    “Discussing history and discussing Scripture, will not change anything, it takes action, i.e. works!

    The big problem is our DENIAL of the need for immediate action. For example, faced with the result of an MRI, humans take action which without the MRI they would not otherwise take.

    Willy Brandt, the Mayor of Berlin in the ’50s left Germany in the ’30s for Norway. In his memoir, he admitted to making a mistake in his warnings about the Nazis: Instead of RHETORIC, he should have used DESCRIPTION.

    An MRI is like the old saying: “A picture is like a thousand words.” A POLITICAL MRI of the past 50 years in the U.S. is our only answer, at this very late point in time, as it would show that Donald Trump can accomplish only one thing: DISASTER.

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